If I have been married almost 7 years, am I entitled to alimony?

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If I have been married almost 7 years, am I entitled to alimony?

Although I am legally married, we were never culturally married and remained financially independent. My husband is a medical resident and will start working as a physician next year. Although I did not contribute to his education or support him, I did sponsor his citizenship and got legally married (at 21 years old) instead of only getting engaged so he could get his working papers immediately. Through the citizenship he was able to complete his training to become a physician but 7 years later, I still have nothing. I feel used.

Asked on March 28, 2011 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In New York it is called maintenance. Originally, 10 factors were set forth as criteria to be weighed by the court in awarding maintenance, including marital property distributed to the parties as part of the equitable distribution of marital property pursuant to a judgment of divorce, and the wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse. There was one factor that made it difficult for older housewives to collect maintencance, as duration of the marriage is a factor in awarding maintenance. So the Court has since substituted "standard of living of the parties established during the marriage" for "reasonable needs", creating a new basis for the award of maintenance. The standard of living established during the marriage became the objective the court should try to reach in determining "whether the party in whose favor maintenance is granted lacks sufficient property and income to provide for his or her reasonable needs" and whether the other party has sufficient property or income to provide for the reasonable needs of the other.

It also added as a factor "any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration," another factor based upon an action which may result in a dissolution of the marriage.  Although you claim that you did not contribute or support his education you all but made it possible for him to ease his way in to the United States and you obviolusly loved him. Get a really good lawyer. I would not give up hope just yet. Good luck.


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